Transcript: Know when it’s emergent and when it’s not

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What to ask when triaging a patient

Cecelia Koetting, OD, FAAO: Hi, I’m Cecilia Koetting, and I am giving a lecture on urgency versus emergency. The idea behind the lecture is helping us to determine what is important when triaging a patient, whether it be our staff, over the phone, at the front desk, our technicians working the patients up, or ourselves within the exam lane.

What are the important things to ask our patients to really get a good story of what happened, why are they there? And how can we best treat them? My favorite is the five Ws: who, what, when, where, and why. I learned them when I was young, a little tot, and I think it still applies now, especially with medicine when we are trying to figure out how to address these problems with patients.

We will be going through case examples such as somebody calling in and saying, “I have a red eye.” Well, we know that there are a lot of different variances of red eye and what could cause a red eye. Subconjunctival bleeding, viral conjunctivitis, did they get hit in the eye and is this actually a laceration and just a sequela of something else that is going on?

We will be talking about double vision. We know there is a long list of what can cause double vision and just go through different scenarios and walk through a decision tree on how best to treat these patients within office.

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